Category Archives: Murphy Family

American to the Core by Maydell Murphy Part 5

College grandeur had departed.  I was installed as housekeeper in a doctor’s house.  My freshman homesickness held no candle to this awful emptiness that faced me now.  Father and Mother were out of the house, or shut up in their offices all day.  Joe was at Harvard.  No companionship could be found in the kitchen.  It was the era of incompetent Portuguese women who scarcely knew a ladle from a spoon.  The house was enormous to keep swept and dusted, for father had just built a new one, a 24-room house of three stories with each room the size of a pioneer cabin.  The D.A.R.’s frowned at it, for father had torn down a lovely old landmark with warming closets and Holy-Lord doors, to make way for a pompous affair of granite base with twin wooden towers rising on either side of a massive mahogany door.  The old house had been set back from the street, as the City Hall had been, next to it.  Then the City Fathers had cut down the beautiful elms, had torn up the emerald lawns, and had put on an enormous granite front.  To match this monstrosity Father built a granite front, too, and set it on the sidewalk.  Mother said she liked to be able to sit at her front window and look down Main Street.  As a matter of fact, we always looked instead at the First Parish Church across the way, its lovely Norman tower half hidden in the elms, its stone-walled churchyard velvet green in the summer, and in winter white as the fields of heaven.  Our house followed no special architectural design.  It was a composite of father’s daydreams and some of his nightmares.  Mother had little to say.  It was father’s house.  He designed it with a noble Jacobean living-hall, upstairs and down, paneled in the choicest of red oak above which were soft green plaster walls stenciled with heraldic device.  The huge doors boasted egg-and-dart moldings and the fireplaces in every room ornamental scrolls which father had laboringly had drawn to scale.  The office-hall and the dining-room papers were dark leather affairs imported from a little town in Magland.  The music-room, with a new stainway grand, especially for me, was paneled in oak with landscaped burlap showing castles and moats.  The light fixtures were solid brass, antiques and fitted with candles.  My bedroom was baby blue plaster with a wide border of hand painted apple blossoms.  But father’s pride was the twelve foot high cemented cellar “where he could walk upright”.  Most of the cellars of that time were entered crouching.

His other special joy was the billiard room in the attic.  Beside the billiard table there was a tower-end, made to represent an Indian wigwam.  How father’s eyes would gleam when he took friends up to see that room with seven windows.  Every window in the house was a different size, of heaviest plate glass.  The curved ones cost fifty dollars to replace when pierced later by a small boy’s 3.3 gun.  One by one the window-cords broke and no carpenter could be found to get them to run up and down smoothly again.  The one mean room was the kitchen.  At a time when kitchens were big enough to house a couple of automobiles, father built one so small you couldn’t swing a cat.  He said he was tired of having hired girls feeding an army, and he was going to put a stop to it.  I never remember any of our girls entertaining more than one and a half visitors at a time, but that was his idea.  He kept the old ice chest, and the old gas stove.  Mother sputtered, but it made no difference.  This was his house.  His offices were rich and dark with handsome Chinese vases on built-in bookcases with doors of leaded glass.  Mother’s were light, and from the day she moved in, a welter of disorder.  Father’s medicine stood in rows, his bills were in alphabetical compartments, but mother’s medicine bottles and bills were all over the place with bits of cotton and rubber pessaries ornamenting the window sills.  Over her operating table hung a huge picture of Grandfather Murphy with his white whiskers painted black.  Mother was devoted to Grandfather because, after she was married, he had encouraged her to follow in his footsteps and become a surgeon.  Grandfather had been a member of the Royal Academy of Surgeons in Manchester, England, before he had come to Taunton and married Grandmother.  I have been told by patients whom he treated with outrageous candor that he was a gentleman of the old school. My only memory of him is his trundling me on his knee while he sang, “Woompshen, woolly woo, woolly, woolly woo.”

The house could have taken all my time, but I was not particularly domestic, so I had long, lonely hours to myself, hours when I used to tramp then miles around the lake, or sew for days with the village seamstress.  Mother used to employ a seamstress about six months of the year, and I was rigidly required to help her make my ocean of clothes.  Sometimes I would have thirty new dresses a year, of the most exquisite material and the most complicated design.  That was the era of miles of braid and tons of ruffled petticoats, with battalions of hooks and eyes, boned bodices, lace fur bellows, and ostrich feather hats.  Skirts were cut into innumerable panels, snipped here and snipped there, and sewn together again with cat stitches, feather stitches, fagoting, and whip cords.  Every seam was overcast.  It was considered slipshod to pink them.  Buttonholes were prodigal in number and size.  Even tailored coats were made at home, and opera-capes were trimmed with glittering passementerie, when they weren’t heavily embroidered with American Beauty roses.  Outside of my high school graduation dress which boasted 250 yards of lace hand sewn on silk net, the noblest creation I ever had was for Harvard Class Day.  The dress was on pinkish tan silk completely covered with rosebuds that had to be embroidered with laborious care.  The skirt was ten yards round and was supported by four silk under skirts, each with its hand made ruffle.  The sleeves were long and the neck was boned.  When I donned it and settled in our automobile to be driven to Cambridge, I was as arrogant as Catherine of Russia.  My pride, however, was short.  On Harvard Bridge, that sweltering day, a tire blew out.  When a tire exploded in those days, it was a serious affair.  This one was filled with a composite of molasses and feathers which flew all over the road and into the open car.  Upon my arrival at Harvard I might have been taken for Skipper Ireson who was tarred and feathered by the women of Marblehead.

Automobiles were never used exclusively by young people but we took plenty of family trips in them.  An auto trip was my Father’s favorite way of entertaining my college friends.  Mother stayed at home and attended to both practices.  He would rout us out of bed at five o’clock in the morning, bid us pack our suitcases, and we were off to New Hampshire or Connecticut or the Maine coast.  Every hundred miles or so we’d have a puncture, which usually meant a blow-out, too.  Then all hands would get out and help wrench off the old tire and pound on the spare.  Every spare demanded plenty of exercise on the pump, for it was not previously inflated.  Father never had a decent jack.  We’d get the car half-raised from the ground and down she’d go.  Once the jack flew up and came within a sixteenth or an inch of my eye, knocking me flat.  I had to learn to steal under the machine, cautiously insert the tool, then hold it steady while Father jacked.  The trick was to lie flat enough in the mud of the road so that if the jack slipped, as it often did, you wouldn’t have your back broken.  Cranking was also a peril.  No one had ever heard of a self-starter.  You turned the crank gingerly, for it might swing around and snap your wrist.  Broken wrists were common.

There was also danger of blowing up.  Water systems were finicky.  Every fifty miles we used to stop, take off the radiator cap which was always red-hot, dodge the fountain of boiling water, then start on a quest for additional water, while she cooled.  Every farmer along the highway was bothered by autoists who wanted to borrow a pail of water, and no sane man drove through miles of woods without carrying his own pail to dip into roadside brooks.

The little old Maxwell’s had to be backed up the hills, the Hump-mobiles were so small we called them animated shingles, but the pride of our hearts was a second hand Cadillac that was stoked with oil every time she took gasoline.  Skidding was an outdoor sport.  There were few cars on the roads, so we could sway merrily, and think little of it, unless we struck a stretch like Lynn Boulevard where we once circled a tree thrice, and continued a little frightened, on our way.  The pioneer autoist,  encased in goggles and duster was a prosaic-looking customer, but he had plenty of thrills.  I remember flying down many steep hill, because the brakes failed to work.  Once there was a hay wagon at the bottom of the grade.  We couldn’t stop, but we just squeaked by, shipping half the load.

I always had difficulty learning to navigate.  When I learned to ride a bicycle Grandma Bliss hired a fireman to run up and down the street with me, even then I mad efor every street-light pole.  When I learned to sail a boat, the mast snapped off, or the cat-boat decided to bury it’s nose.  Canoes keeled over.  Horses lay down and rolled over.  When I tried for my auto license, my instructor took me down the river road, set me at the wheel, started the machine, then jumped out, and began running circles around the slowly-moving car.  My foot found the throttle, I ran straight across a meadow, although I might just as well have gone into the middle of the river.  “There”, siad Longlegs, rushing up, “Now you’ll have plenty of confidence.  You see you drove it all alone.”

On Martha’s Vineyard Island where we summered for twenty-five years, father’s automobile, however, was the piece de resistance.  There was some difficulty getting it there, for there was always the problem of “making the boat”.  We usually started early in the morning to cover the 22 miles to the New Bedford Steamboat Wharf where we had a reservation for the noon boat.  If we didn’t make the boat, we were delayed four or five days and that was expensive.  So we carried two spares, and prayed all tires would hold, that she wouldn’t boil over, and that no mysterious part would drop out coasting down the hills.  Then, too, there was the argument of whether the top should up or down.  Frequently we changed our minds two or three times on the road.  The gangplank was the width of the machine, with an unguarded few inches wither side.  You had to put on the juice to make the slope.  Your steering-wheel was none too certain.  The crew lined up to give advice and the necessary heaves.  Before you were safely “stowed”, profanity filled the air, the family, on the upper deck, covered their eyes and resorted to prayer.  If you had a new machine, the trip was heart-rending for the dashing spray on the open deck of the ship’s bow took off the finish right before your eyes.  Having arrived at the Cottage City Warf, the problem was still more acute, for the tide was either too high, too low, or too swift, and getting an automobile off could be calculated only by astrologers.


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American to the Core by Maydell Murphy Part 1

* This story is transcribed exactly the way it is written.

She never could see tiger lilies in a field of tall grass and waving dandelions that she didn’t think of Bristol Ferry.  The rain-barrel at the back door and the rail fence where as a child she had waved to every passing locomotive. In front of the cottage the little round garden filled with sweet-williams flanked on either side by lop-sided starts of portulaca. The steep embarkment and the beach of egg-sized stones, and out in the blue of the bay, the small red lighthouse bobbing on the waves like a toy.  It never seemed to stand still. THere were butterflies, too, hundreds of them; the scent of wild rose and honeysuckle, and the tar of sailing ships in the hot sunshine. It was fun to take the row-boat, scull out to the channel, and wait for a three-master to come driving along in half sail. Dart along side, hear the pilot swear, see him lean over the side and shake his fist, — and come clear on the other side, just in the nick of time, as the great ship drove on.  Sometimes Bayard, the huge St. Bernard would sit in the stern, but usually it was just Maydell and Joe, brown as nutmegs, hair burned light as dusty miller, eyes bluer than the chicory flower that grew along the banks.

In the evening, when the frogs were croaking and rheumatic old Mary said it was time to go to bed, the children sat on the piazza rail, their bare legs dangling, their eyes turned to watch the falling stars.  Sometimes the fleck of the fireflies in the soft velvet of the night would hold them spell-bound, and the silence would pierce their hearts like little silver knives.  Then there would be the faint sound of music on the water, the gleam of hundreds of lights, the Fall River liner would steam by, as mysterious as tales of Ali Baba or the Swan Maiden.

The children lived in a world their own.  Old Mary supplied their needs much as a genie would come at call with food and drink, or a wooden Indian would descend from his pedestal.  Otherwise, they never were conscious of anything she felt or said or did.  Even on rainy days they were exploring borrows or caves or the dark and dim recesses under the long ward where the popping sea-weed grew and the purple periwinkles clung.  Or they spend long hours pinning multi-colored moths to shingles.  Life was so full of mysteries.  Curiosity was a sort of hunger, never to be satisfied.  Dawn and dark followed one another in almost the flick of an eyelash.

Occasionally on holidays their mother and father would come down from the city.  Father was a small sandy man, very busy, and afraid of fireworks.  When Joe and Maydell in a fever of ecstacy,  stood out on the edge of the banking, waving Roman candles to signal the New York boat he would stand behind the screen door and issue short warnings.  “Watch what you’re doing: Be careful: Look out!!! Hold then high! Emma, Emma, haven’t those children had enough? They’ll be burned to death!” They’d hear mother’s low laugh, and her reply, “Oh, go into the house, Dr. and let them alone.  Just because you jump at a firecracker is no reason they should be afraid.  We have a dozen rockets to set off yet.”

Mother was such a good sport.  She was a busy woman too.  She was a doctor like father, but she could play baseball, put on boxing gloves with the boys, fire a rifle, and sing like an angel.  She said when she  began surgery, she fainted nine times in the operating-room, but she went back the tenth time and stayed.  That was mother.

But she couldn’t swim a stroke, even though she waded out after Dr. Erb one day and brought him in safe when he was drowning.  Joe was scornful.  Why did father have to bring young etherizers down to the beach to spoil everyone’s good time by getting beyond their depths and then having mother save them? Old people were stupid anyway.  All little boys could swim, and even little girls like Maydell.  You were just thrown into the water and you paddled to safety.  Nothing to make such a fuss about.  In summer they were bad enough, but in winter they were worse.  They were always having babies and leaving them on mother’s front door-step.  Then everyone had to get up in the cold and take the baby in and feed it warm milk.  Father got very cross and mother got very tired ringing up the telephone and trying to get some orphanage to take the baby.  Usually it ended by old Mrs. Harradon who had seven or eight already, agreeing to take just one more.  Then everyone could go back to bed.

It wasn’t all bad at home.  There was always Grandma Bliss, she gave you a quarter no matter how many times a week you went to see her.  Of course it was a long way and it cost five cents to go on the open cars.  So you didn’t go too often.  Only you never missed a Sunday.  Rain or shine you went to church, one Sunday to St. Mary’s with Grandmother Murphy who was saint, and the next Sunday to the Unitarian with Grandma Bliss who fed you sugar pills from a darling little round tin box she hid behind her fan.  After church Grandmother Murphy never asked you to dinner.  She lived alone in an enormous white house with cherry trees, a long grape arbor, and the neatest flower garden you ever saw, all divided into plots bordered with low green box.  She never offered you any of the cherries or the beautiful flowers, but she told you to be good children and go straight home.  Occasionally she would ask you into the house and you sat quietly in one chair and let your eyes rove over the madonnas on the wall, the wax flowers under glass, and the great gold mirror that was five times as big as you were.

Grandma Bliss always asked you to Sunday dinner, every single Sunday.  She cried if you didn’t come.  But you never missed unless you were sick.  You wouldn’t miss for anything.  when you got to the foot of her street, you’d start running.  past the Banders and the Stoddards till you came to Grandma’s fence. You’d stop and hang over it as if you’d never seen it before.  In the spring, a great bed of blue myrtle, grape hyacinths, billowing mock orange, bridal wreath, and sweet lily of the valley under the maples.  About Decoration Day came the great feathery balls of pink peonies, the snowball bush, the smoke-tree, purple iris, and a whole row of lilacs.  There was a watering tub of sparkling water under the buttery-window, and a trumpet-vine climbing the elk, though Grandma always vowed she’d have it cut down because it brought ants. But she never did and you never in all your life saw ant inside her house.  out back was the grape-arbor that led to the privy, and the apple-orchard and the barn.  Grandpa kept cows and horses and hens, and had a vegetable garden that all the neighbors admired.  They’d always stop and say, “How are the peas coming along, Mr. Bliss?” and Grandpa would stride out–he was tall as a monument–and pick them some.  then Grandma would come to the back door and call, “Shubael, you leave enough for these young ones.  Don’t give it all away.  Joey looks as peaked as a skinnymalink.  We’ve got to fatten him up. ” Grandpa would laugh his great deep laugh, and when he came back into the house his arms would be full.  “Think you’ve got enough, Mindy?” he’d say.  “They’s plenty more were them’s from.”

Maggie, the big-boned Irish cook, and Grandma would start to get dinner ready.  There would be an hour or two of heavenly smells.  Then food enough for twenty–great luscious slabs of roast-beef, green peas in milk or corn on the cob–a dozen ears if you liked–mounds of potatoes mashed with cream, pickles and jellies, and new-made bread.  You always said politely, “I’d like a piece of white bread, please,” because there was always brown bread, too, and sometimes golden cornbread.  Grandma urged you to spread thicker the butter you’d helped her make.  And Maggie would bring great pitchers of rich milk from the pans in the buttery.  You topped off with cake-gingerbread.  Grandpa usually ate a whole apple-pie.  Maggie made seven at a time.

After dinner you went into the sittin-room.  There was a cozy wood-fire in the air-tight stove, under the mantel with the Chinese vases on it, and over it huge a picture of a child and dog entitled “Can’t you talk?” What-nots filled the corners and one wall held a China cabinet filled with brown and gold spode, and the Come-birdy-come cup.  The chairs were old and roomy and comfortable–just right to curl up in, while Grandma read you a story.  Sometimes you munched candy, and Grandma didn’t mind.  Her voice rose soft and clear in sad tales of Dickens, Whittier’s poetry, and Louisa Alcott’s latest book.  She wouldn’t read about Palmer Cox’s Brownies, though she bought you the books and you could laugh over them yourself.  She always ended by singing “Falling leaf and fading tree”.  Just when you were almost nodding asleep, she’d call, Shubael, Shubael, you can’t sit there napping all day in the kitchen.  These children need air.  You hitch up Bessie and we’ll drive up to Woodward’s Springs.”

While Grandpa was hitching up she’d go prowling around the garden and over in the lots with you at her heels.  There wasn’t a flower or a weed she didn’t know.  Old Bess would round the corner and Grandma always said, “You think she’s all right, Shubael? Her ears are pricked up.”  And Grandpa would answer, “Oh get in, Mindy, get in, and don’t keep me here all the afternoon.  We’ll never get there and back at this rate.”  Maydell would scramble in back of the carryall and take her place primly beside Grandma, but Joey fought for the step.  “Hang on tight, Joey”, Grandma would warn.  Grandpa would rattle the whip in its socket and we were off for our Sunday afternoon drive of five miles.  The horses walked four and a half, and broke into a gentle trot for the other half mile.  Amid screams from Grandma, Joey would jump off and on the step to catch a turtle, a butterfly, and chase a chipmunk.  We’d stop for a rare flower, a spray of apple blossoms, some milk weed silk, a daisy or a dandelion fluff to test our fortune.  At Woodward’s Spring, we’d pile out.  Grandpa would swing us high into the tree-tops.  Grandma would make us drink from the “iron” spring. We’d roam or race along the banks of the river, tear round like young colts in the deep grass, slide down the hill on our backsides, and just as the sun began to set, Grandpa would haul a picnic basket from under the seat, and we’d forage with squeals of joy among the doughnuts, the turnovers, and wedges of cake.  In her silk riticule Grandma always had paper bags f lovage root, rock candy, and jelly beans.

When we got back, Grandpa would unharness Old Bess, let Joey ride her to the stall, while Grandma got the oysters, put newspapers down on the floor, and drew up the big kitchen rocker.  There Grandpa would shuck oysters with his jack-knife until everyone had full and plenty.

Just before you left, Grandma would go get two big candy boxes, fill them full of all kinds of candy she had, and give you those and a new quarter a piece to take home.  She never admonished you to be good children.  She told you she was proud you were hers.  And if you had been willing to carry them back on the street-cars she would have filled your arms full of all the flowers in the garden.  Sunday at Grandma’s was a day of joy,  peace and thanksgiving.  It shoved you right through blue Mondays.



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World War I Testimony

Exhibit A the World War I testimony of my Great Grandfather Dr. Joseph Leroy Murphy about a soldier that had died.


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Posted by on October 11, 2016 in Military, Murphy Family


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The peculiar marriage of Dr. Charles Oscar Murphy and Martha Price

I remember reading about my Uncle Charles (son of Joseph) going to Alexandria Park in Manchester, England after the death of his Uncle Charles and questioning his wife Martha within an inch of her life about the legitimacy of her marriage and her inheritance. I never really paid attention to it until the other day when I started looking into my 4x Great Uncle Dr. Charles Oscar Murphy. What I found; well let’s start at the beginning.

Charles Oscar Murphy was born around 1831 in Ireland to James Montgomery Murphy and Eleanor “Ellen” McOscar.  He is the brother of my 3x Great Grandfather Dr. Joseph Murphy.

When Charles was young Joseph paid for him to attend medical school then set him up in private practice in England.  Where he remained when Joseph came to the United States.

Around 1870 Martha Price came to work for him as his housekeeper.

In 1876 Dr. Murphy proposed marriage, he was advised to fully consider the matter by Father Birch but he told Father Birch that he had already done so.  He stated the he had spoken with Martha and the two went down on their knees and in the most solemn manner invoked the presence of the Lord, at the time promising to be faithful to each other until death.  Father Birch   told him that it was a valid marriage in the eyes of the church.

For the next 23 years Charles and Martha lived as husband and wife. Keeping in mind however, that there was no license, no registrar, no church ceremony.  Circumstances arouse (I am unsure of what circumstances) that found in necessary to clearly establish the marriage.  Now according to articles I have found in 1882 a certificate was given to Charles from Canon Sheehan, who was the acting Vicar-General and Mgr. Hill, secretary to the Bishop of Slaford, in the following terms:

“I hereby certify that Dr. Charles Oscar Murphy, of 116 Oxford Street, Manchester, was married to Martha Price, of the same address, on the 25th day of September 1876; in faith of which I hereby append my hand and seal.”

In 1897 the matter of the validity of their marriage came up again.  This time Charles was advised to lay the matter before the court, as the marriage, although may be perfectly valid according to the Church of Rome, was not a good marriage according to the law of England.  A petition was presented to the Court, asking for a declaration under the Legitimacy Declaration Act that his marriage was legal and valid.  Sir Francis Jeune tried the case.

Cardinal Vaughan testified before the court. He testified he knew nothing of the certificate until three weeks prior to the testimony.  He also stated that the certificate was not a proper marriage certificate as the witnesses were not mentioned. He had no doubt that Canon Sheehan considered the parties were validly married according to conscience, and he might have given it for the protection of the woman.  He had never heard of anything of the kind before, and it was certainly not in accordance with the practice of the Church.

Sir Jeune stated he had no difficulty in determining the case.  The marriage was clearly invalid according to English law. He however had no doubt of the honest and sincerity of Mrs. Murphy and Dr. Murphy’s intentions. However, according to him sufficient care had not been taken. With regard to the certificate he would be sorry to think that such certificates were often used, and was prepared to accept this as a unique transaction, because such a certificate would certainly be taken as the certificate of a valid marriage.

In conclusion it was stated the essence of marriage is that the parties should make a contract in the present to become husband and wife.  The man and the woman administer the Sacrament to one another.  The presence of a priest or other witnesses is not necessary to the validity of the marriage.  Such a marriage as that of Dr. Murphy, in which the couple simply knelt down in the drawing-room alone and pledged themselves as husband and wife, though ecclesiastically irregular and unlawful, was perfectly valid and binding.

In countries in which the decrees of the Council of Trent are in force, the law of the Church in this respect has been seriously modified, and in any of those countries Dr. Murphy’s marriage would have been invalid as well as irregular.  That is was not valid according to English law we should have thought was sufficiently obvious.  In Scottish law, however, such a marriage is perfectly legal, but a decree of declaration of the Supreme Court is necessary.

This is the story of my 4x great Uncle and his wife Martha.

The marriage never was legalized in the court, however it appears does appear from here on out it was recognized as legal. There is not much else known about Martha and Charles.

1871 Census

1871 Census


1881 Census It is interesting to note that Martha is not listed as his wife in this Census.

1881 Census
It is interesting to note that Martha is not listed as his wife in this Census.


1891 Census

1891 Census


1901 Census

1901 Census


Englad Probate Calendar

England Probate Calendar



Posted by on June 27, 2016 in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Murphy Family


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Francis Charles Murphy

For week 9 we are going to go to my 3rd great Uncle on my Father’s side.  Francis was the son of the first Dr. Joseph and Mary Frances (Briggs) Murphy.  His was the brother of Dr. Joseph Briggs Murphy, Sister Mary Mechtilde (Mary Ellen), James Montgomery, Charles Albert, Agnes Louise, Dr. Charles Oscar Murphy, and Sister Mary Leonie (Ida).

1870 census cropped

1870 Census


1880 Census

1880 Census


1900 Census

1900 Census


1910 Census

1910 Census


Francis was born on the 23rd of December 1864.  I have been unable to locate a birth record for Francis, but his birth date was on his US Passport Application.

Harvard Alumni List

Harvard Alumni List

He attended St. Mary’s College, Montreal, Canada and graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1886.  He was house physician for City Hospital of Boston and was in general practice in Roxbury’s South End.

irish born in mass







He married Anne Margaret Scott on August 20, 1901 and they had one child. Annette Scott Murphy was born on the 8th of March 1905. Before he married Anne his sister Ida took care of his home.

marriage record

During his life he traveled several times to Bremen, Germany.

ship record 3

1913 Ship Record From Bremen, Germany










Francis dropped dead suddenly while visiting a patient on November 2, 1919 in Boston of Chronic Nephritis and Organic Disease of the Heart.


Death Record

Death Record


Posted by on August 31, 2015 in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Murphy Family


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Ruth Frances (Gough) Murphy

Ruth Frances Gough was born to James Gough and Fanny (Kelly) Gough on February 3, 1888. She was an only child as her father died 5 months later and Fanny never remarried.  She grew up in the home of her Uncle Peter with her mother and his family.

Ruth Birth record cropped

Ruth Frances Goff birth record


Ruth F. Gough, age 1.5 yrs (1)

Ruth at 1 1/2 years

Ruth somewhere between the ages of 10 - 12

Ruth somewhere between the ages of 10 – 12











She was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Art. An art teacher and avid painter. At one time she was a pupil of Artists Margaret Fitzhugh Browne and Charles Lamb.

Ruth F. Gough, Art Supervisor, Willimantic, Conn, about 1912 (1)

Ruth as Art Supervisor in Willimantic, Connecticut about 1912


She married Dr. Joseph Leroy Murphy around 1920 and together they had five boys. Joseph, David, Robert, Richard, and John (Jack). They lived at 23 Cedar St. in Taunton where Joseph had an office.

23 Cedar Street

23 Cedar Street








She was a member of the Queen’s Daughters, the Taunton’s Women’s Club, and the Morton Hospital Women’s Auxiliary.


1930 Census

1930 Census


1940 Census

1940 Census


She died on May 7, 1976 at the age of 88.  She is buried in Saint Francis Old Cemetery Taunton, Massachusetts.









Come back tomorrow to see some of Ruth Gough Murphy’s wonderful paintings.





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Obituary of Joseph Leroy Murphy

JLM obituary-page-001

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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Murphy Family


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Premature Birth

Premature Birth

I have to admit I struggled somewhat on whether or not to make this post, but in the end I decided this is a family blog and this is part of my family story.  Every year since 2011 I have done the March of Dimes: March for Babies walk, my reason for doing so.  My son.

JD BirthHe was born at 29 weeks 6 days and was 2 pounds 13 oz.  He was 14 inches long.  We spent the longest 62 days of my life in the NICU. Cause of his premature birth was a bacterial infection.  At times he struggled to breath.  He had a small hole in his heart, he came close to a blood transfusion for anemia but fought back.  We were among the more lucky premature births.  He had no surgeries and only had to come home on a heart monitor that he wore for a month. Today he is a happy healthy almost 3 year old boy. It was an experience I don’t wish on any family but one we pulled threw just fine. March of Dimes is diligently trying to find a way to stop the birth of premature babies.So I gladly support there cause.

A little about March of Dimes.

March of Dimes, founded in 1938 by President Franklin D Roosevelt, celebrated its 75th year anniversary in 2013. March of Dimes was originally created to help find a cure for polio, and after funding the research that developed a vaccine to combat it, the organization changed its focus to prematurity. In 1970 the March for Babies Event was established.

The March of Dimes spends 76¢ of every dollar raised in March for Babies to support research and programs that help babies begin healthy lives.


If you would like to donated to this worthy cause and to my walk for babies please go to and thank you:



Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Murphy Family


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School St Village Blog

I would like to take the time to thank Sandy Souza Pineault over at Schoolstvillage.blogspot for the wonderful post she did on my Great Great Grandmother Dr. Emily Murphy.

While your there also check out this post on the Taunton Public Library which includes Dr. Emily Murphy’s daughter Maydell Murphy.

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Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Murphy Family


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Honoring My Family Veterans

Dr. Joseph Leroy Murphy





Charles A SeekellCharles Albert Seekell





frederocl whittleFrederick Thomas Whittle





Robert F MurphyRobert Francis Murphy





Uncle JosephDr. Joseph Gough Murphy





Richard Murphy USNRichard Murphy





uncle jack japan 1947John Atkins Murphy





Grandpa WW2Gilbert Francis Cunha





Uncle BillWilliam Whittle





Uncle Robbie USNRobert Murphy





John Cunha Jr.John Cunha, Jr.


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